Skip to main content

Being All Things to All Men

In 1 Corinthians 9 and 10, Paul makes a few amazing statements about himself and then says that we are to follow his example.

“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Cor. 9:19-23)

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks, or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:31-11:1)


Let me repeat a line out of each of the above paragraphs. “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” and “even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many so that they may be saved.”

Let me encourage you to follow Paul’s example. It is a big order: all things, all men, all means, everybody, every way, all for their salvation.


Same Page Summer Bible Reading
Written June 1983.

Comments

Elisabeth said…
Right..it struck me that being all things to all men...much to think about . .so how do you become weak if you are mature to win some to Christ..so it comes down to practical application of christianity...learning how not to use your Christian experience in a bubble world....much to think about...it convicted me very much, because . ...I'm way too self absorbed...
James I Wilson said…
Elisabeth,

You say it struck you that being all things to all men is much to think about. Well, let’s break it down. “All things to all men” means you take any one person and identify with that one person—first by loving that person, and second by not speaking to them from across the river. When you are a Christian and they are not, it is like they’re on the other side of a river, and you need to get them across to the salvation side. It doesn’t work to shout at them saying, “Come on in; the water’s fine,” from across what looks to them like a raging torrent of dangerous water. You go to where they are. You stand by them and say, “Let’s go across the river together.” Love the person; get next to the person.

How do you become weak if you are mature? You become weak by choosing to identify with the weak person. That doesn’t mean you lose your maturity. You use your love to identify with them. In other words, you don’t say, “You’re weak, and I’m strong, so I’m going to show you how to do it.” No. You become weak by a simple decision to identify with them so they’re not looking up to you like you’re someone far above them, and they can’t attain to your status. Instead of them becoming like you, you have to become like them. You do this by choice.

This doesn’t mean you become profane or immoral. It means getting close to them and loving them. It will take strength to do this. Otherwise, you’d be flaunting your strength and their weakness, and you don’t want to do that. That will not get them out of their weakness.

How to do this? The best way is to love the person in such a way that that person knows that you love them. When a person is loved, he returns it. His defenses go down. He listens to you because you love him. In other words, there is not a big distance between you in his viewpoint. He realizes that you are right next to him.

You say that you are too self-absorbed. So practice choosing to think of other people, even random people you meet on the street and don’t speak to. Choose to love that person, even if you don’t wind up having an opportunity to express it. Still make that choice, so that if you do meet that person, you have already made the choice; you already love them.

I hope this makes some sense.

Popular posts from this blog

An Update on My Ministry

This is an update from my son Douglas on my health and the plans for continuing my literature publishing ministry with Community Christian Ministries. If you would like to talk to me more about this or just for fellowship, you can reach me at (208) 882-4383 or jimwilson27@frontier.com.

Dear saints,

My name is Douglas Wilson, and I am writing you with an update about my father’s health, and about our plans for the future of his ministry. I serve on CCM’s executive committee, and we recently made some important decisions in this regard, and so I wanted to take this opportunity to pass this information on to you.

As most of you know, Jim Wilson is now on hospice care. He is getting progressively weaker, but is still able to live at home, where he continues to counsel and minister to others. We don’t know when he will go to be with the Lord—it could be any time, and it could be a while yet. My wife and I have been living with him the last nine months, and are happy to report that he is a …

My Testimony

Most veterans of Korea, Vietnam, or the Cold War, had at least one narrow escape. I had one on the USS Brush three months after being commissioned as an officer. The gunnery officer told me to leave my battle station in gunnery plot and come up to the main battery director. Our ship was off the east coast of Korea, closing range to destroy some railroad cars. I left the chief fire controlman in charge of plot and proceeded to the main battery director. When I got up to the director, he did not know why he had called me there.

While I was there, we hit a mine on the port side. The explosion obliterated gunnery plot and flooded the forward fire room. We lost sixteen men: six in the fire room, five in plot, four overboard, and one died from burns in the hospital. That evening I conducted the funeral when we buried the chief at sea. He had died in place of me.

Read the rest of the story...

November Ministry Update

Dear Friends,

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).

Years ago, a friend of mine told me that he was not into evangelism because the more converts he had, the more backsliders he had. Of course, that is not a reason to hold back on evangelism, but it makes us wonder why it sometimes seems to be so.

Here is a major reason. The new Christian often is not taught to live the Christian life the same as he was taught to receive Christ. He is taught a different way of living than he was taught of receiving. That is why he falls. The new Christian received Christ by grace through faith. He did not receive Christ by trying or by effort. He is not to live by trying or by effort. He is to live by grace through faith. In other words, the Christian life should be like being born again every day. If you need help with this, I recomm…